Zechariah 12


‘A prophecy: The word of the LORD concerning Israel. The LORD, who stretches out the heavens, who lays the foundation of the earth, and who forms the human spirit within a person, declares: ‘I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem. On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves. On that day I will strike every horse with panic and its rider with madness,’ declares the LORD. ‘I will keep a watchful eye over Judah, but I will blind all the horses of the nations. Then the clans of Judah will say in their hearts, ‘The people of Jerusalem are strong, because the LORD Almighty is their God.’ ‘On that day I will make the clans of Judah like a firepot in a woodpile, like a flaming torch among sheaves. They will consume all the surrounding peoples right and left, but Jerusalem will remain intact in her place.’ Zechariah 12:1-6

Jerusalem’s Enemies To Be Destroyed

Some translations have the word, ‘burden’, instead of prophecy, Zechariah 9:1 / Malachi 1:1. The word ‘burden’ in Hebrew is ‘massa’ and it means ‘to lift up’ and although the N.I.V. and other translations use the word, ‘prophecy’ it simply means that Zechariah is going to lift up his voice to speak the Word of God to the nation of Israel.

Here we find the Lord encouraging His people by reminding if He can ‘lay the foundation of the earth’, Job 38:4-7 / Amos 4:13 / Amos 5:8, then He’s certainly more than capable of protecting His people, Matthew 16:18.

He’s certainly more than capable of protecting His people as He is the One who placed the human spirit within us, Genesis 2:7 / Psalm 51:10 / Hebrews 12:9. When we die, our human spirit goes back to God who gave it, Ecclesiastes 12:7.

The nations would gather in order to drink from the cup of Jerusalem, thinking that it contained sweet wine. However, when they drank of the cup, they would reel from the calamity that God would bring upon them, Isaiah 51:17 / Isaiah 51:21-23.

God wouldn’t allow His people to be overcome until the day set for the outpouring of His Spirit. Once the Spirit had been poured out, then the nation of Israel that rejected the Messiah would come to an end.

The ‘immovable rock’, is used as a metaphor for the church and those who try to move it, can’t and injure themselves in trying to do so, Matthew 21:44 / Luke 20:18.

The church is founded upon the eternal Rock of truth, it’s the little stone cut out of the mountain without hand that will fill the earth, Daniel 2:34-35. It’s the stumbling stone for racial Israel, it’s the stone which the builders rejected, Matthew 21:42 / Matthew 21:44.

On ‘that day’, that is, in the days of the Messiah, is when these things will happen. Zechariah included among the events of the last days everything from Pentecost to the Judgment. These are all included in this chapter under the title, ‘on that day’, an expression repeated in Zechariah 12:3-4 / Zechariah 12:6 / Zechariah 12:8-9 / Zechariah 12:11.

It appears that on that day, God ‘will strike every horse with panic and its rider with madness’, Exodus 15:1, in other words, this will be a great battle against the church, because the Gospel requires obedience to the Messiah.

God says He ‘will keep a watchful eye over Judah’, God would look with favour on His people, He would look with favour on Jerusalem until the new Jerusalem was brought forth, Revelation 21:1-27, and then the old Jerusalem and everything it stood for would come to an end.

Zechariah uses the firepot and the flaming torch as metaphors, and he uses them to explain that the rulers of Judah would participate in the continuation of Jerusalem. They would be as a small fire that would set an entire forest on fire. They would be like a flaming torch thrown into dry sheaves.

In other words, physical Jerusalem is going to struggle until the spiritual Jerusalem came into existence with the coming of the Messiah, Matthew 13:36-43. God’s people will be able to overcome the devil and everything he throw at them, Ephesians 6:16 / Galatians 6:16.

Coffman, in his commentary says the following.

‘Some are still waiting for God to do this ‘literally’ in some kind of a millennial kingdom with Jerusalem as the earthly capital of it. The Christ made it plain enough for all who will hear, ‘My kingdom is NOT OF THIS WORLD’, John 18:36. A failure to see that ‘Judah’ in this passage isn’t the same as in Zechariah 12:2 results in some very imaginative interpretations.’

Baldwin, in his commentary says the following.

‘The very fact that Judah is among the enemy is turned to advantage. As instantaneously as fire ignites dry tinder and ripe sheaves, so will Judah inflict devastation on the enemy while Jerusalem watches. ‘However, it is God’s wrath and not theirs, that is the fire which devours the adversaries.’ Exactly this same thought is found in the New Testament, Revelation 11:5.’

‘The LORD will save the dwellings of Judah first, so that the honour of the house of David and of Jerusalem’s inhabitants may not be greater than that of Judah. On that day the LORD will shield those who live in Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them will be like David, and the house of David will be like God, like the angel of the LORD going before them. On that day I will set out to destroy all the nations that attack Jerusalem.’ Zechariah 12:7-9

Although the N.I.V. uses the word ‘dwellings’, the K.J.V. uses the word ‘tents’, which gives us a better understanding of what the Lord means here. Those who live in tents are those who are the poorest in society, the outcasts of society.

Those who live in contrast with others who live in palaces and fortified cities. These are the people whom Christ spoke to who would inherited the kingdom of God, Luke 6:20 / Galatians 3:28 / James 2:5.

Jesus was born of the house of David so that He would reign on the throne of David from heaven, Acts 2:22-36. The house of David would survive until the Seed came forth from the seedline of David. The survival of the people would be to the honour of God, not to the honour of the people. The Jews had forgotten that all was about bringing honour to God, not about bringing honour to themselves as a people, Matthew 20:26.

The house of David would be ‘like God’, is a reference to the fact that Jesus was the Son of God who was born of the house of David. David was well known for being a fighter, with great courage and success. God promises a day when the weakest in Jerusalem will be as mighty as David and the leaders can only be compared in might to God!

Coffman, in his commentary says the following.

‘The mention of Jerusalem, house of David, and Judah appears confusing until it is recognized that here we have a third usage of Judah already in this chapter! Here Judah stands for the poor, taken from the fact that the environs of Jerusalem contrasted sharply with the affluence and glory of the city itself.’ Matthew 19:30.

Just as God had previously destroyed the Assyrians and the Babylonians, when Christ’s kingdom comes, the church, He promises to destroy anyone or any other kingdom which rises up against the spiritual Jerusalem, the church.

Mourning For The One They Pierced

‘And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son. On that day the weeping in Jerusalem will be as great as the weeping of Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. The land will mourn, each clan by itself, with their wives by themselves: the clan of the house of David and their wives, the clan of the house of Nathan and their wives, the clan of the house of Levi and their wives, the clan of Shimei and their wives, and all the rest of the clans and their wives.’ Zechariah 12:10-14

When the nation of Israel was to come to an end and cease to exist as a nation, God would pour out His Spirit of grace and supplication, Isaiah 11:2. This is an obvious reference to the events of Pentecost, Joel 2:28-32 / Acts 2:16-17. God is going to move among His people and bring saving grace and humble prayer.

Notice they ‘will look on me, the one they have pierced’, this is an obvious reference to Jesus, John 19:37. When God’s Spirit comes, they will look to Jesus, the One who was pierced, Acts 2:23 / Acts 2:36 / Revelation 1:7.

Deane, in his commentary says the following.

‘When the Jews crucified the Messiah, him who was God and Man. Piercing Christ was the piercing of God himself. Jesus said, ‘He that hath seen me hath seen the Father’, and Jesus is called God a full dozen times in the Greek New Testament. The unique application of this passage to Jesus Christ can never be effectively denied. An apostle made that application of it in the gospel, where John quoted this place as proof that the Scriptures were fulfilled in the events occurring in connection with the crucifixion of Christ, saying, ‘They shall look upon him whom they pierced, John 19:37.

This is an interpretive quotation in which the inspired apostle melded the meaning of the two principal clauses (look unto me, and him whom they pierced), indicating that God and ‘him whom they pierced’ are thought of as one, and that the one thought of is Jesus Christ. Such an instructive use of the passage by John makes it impossible to accept the notion that the apostle, ‘may not have been intending to do more than give the general sense’.

John’s quotation does far more than that. For us, his words, inspired of God, are the end of the matter. One word from such a source is worth more than the concurring opinions of all human councils.’

Hailey, in his commentary says the following.

‘There is clearly depicted a tragedy occurring in the family of David, when some leading personage in the family would be smitten, Zechariah 13:7, his hands would be pierced, Zechariah 12:10 / Zechariah 13:6, a fountain for sin will be opened, Zechariah 13:1. It was to happen in the day when the house of David shall be as God, Zechariah 12:8.

Only One member of David’s family was ever God. That One was Jesus. This identifies the Person here referred to as the ‘Branch’ of Zechariah 3:6, who would remove the sin of the earth in ‘one day’, Zechariah 3:9, and he would rule from sea to sea and to the uttermost parts of the earth, Zechariah 9:6-10. Here is an amazing forecast in detail of the Death of Jesus, in no wise applicable to any other known person.’

Notice also, that they will ‘mourn him’ as one who mourns for an only child, Jeremiah 6:26 / Amos 8:10. The ‘weeping in Jerusalem as great as the weeping of Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo.’ This was the greatest sorrow, which had fallen on Judah because Josiah was the last hope of its declining kingdom, 2 Kings 23:29 / 2 Chronicles 35:20-25. The people greatly mourned his death but there would also be great mourning over the crucified Christ, Luke 23:48.

Barnes, in his commentary says the following about the families.

‘This sorrow should be universal but also individual, the whole land, and that, family by family; the royal family in the direct line of its kings, and in a branch from Nathan, a son of David and whole brother of Solomon, 1 Chronicles 3:5, which was continued on in private life yet was still to be an ancestral line of Jesus, Luke 3:31, in like way the main priestly family from Levi, and a subordinate line from a grandson of Levi, ‘the family of Shimei’, Numbers 3:23, and all the remaining families, each with their separate sorrow, each according to Joel‘s call, ‘let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber and the bride out of her closet’, Joel 2:16, each denying himself the tenderest solaces of life.’

These leading families would be representative of all families of Israel, and years later after Peter preached his message about Jesus, they mourned because of what they had done to Jesus, Acts 2:36-41.

Go To Zechariah 13


"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."

Hebrews 12:2